Through training for long distance runs, primarily speaking of the marathon and beyond I have naturally been forced to spend a lot of time by myself. Through long training runs, weekly miles and gym sessions, me, myself and I have become better acquainted.
Training for an epic race or goal can be an amazing time to get to know yourself and find out things you didn’t really know. You think you know yourself inside and out until your 4 hours into a solo run for the first time. Here are the brutally honest things I’ve learned through training for and running long distances:
1. My stomach is a bottomless pit: I’m sure if you’re deep into training you’re on the same page. You have a strong desire to eat everything. All the time. All the foods. The struggle is real and the grocery bill sucks, but hey you have to feed the machine!
2. I’ve totally become THAT girl: you know, the one who will casually slip running into most conversations. Like at work. “Why are you walking like that?” “Oh I just ran a 50k race yesterday”. Or “Plans for the weekend?” “I’m going to Vegas this weekend…but not for the usual Vegas thing, I’m running the Grand Canyon! I’ve even adopted the name runner girl…help.
3. I really like naps: an early morning run in the pouring rain, followed by an ice cold recovery smoothie and then topped with a hot shower? Next place you’ll find me if I can score the time, is snuggled under the blankets in bed.
4. I still hate mornings: no matter how many early morning runs my friends force me into, i just can’t be that chipper jump out of bed at days first light kind of person. I’ve made peace with this.
5. Im slightly obsessive: I’m a numbers person, and shamefully (or not) I track every single mile. It might be obsessive but honestly it helps me stay on track and motivates me through out the week.
6. Running clothes are officially a fashion statement: if you catch me on the off chance I’m not in running shorts (or scrubs), it must be special occasion.
7. I’m very regular: I never became so aware of my “schedule” until I started distance training. Running creates a lot of movement through out the body, including in our bowels, it’s like a natural laxative!
8. I’m a picky eater while running: gels? I’ll pass… Gummy chews? Nah… Elaborate flavoured energy bars.. Nope. Baby food? Please!!
9. I talk to myself: I must have gotten it from my dad, because he does it all the time…but out there on the trails I talk to myself… Or to Charlie. Either way no ones talking back to me!
10. If I think I need to rest, I need to rest: I am not a lazy person by any means, I am normally bouncing off the walls with energy and can be found at the gym after a 12 hour shift with energy to spare. However if I feel tired, run down, excessively sore… It probably means my body is telling me take the foot of the gas and hold back. I have learned the importance of listening your body. If you think you need to rest, listen to that inner voice. No sense in burning out or getting injured because you’re tired or over training.
11. Running is therapy:
It might sound cheesy but it is the best therapy I know. After a stressful day at work, an intense situation, anything… My outlet is running. I get restless and a little irritable when I haven’t gone for a run. Once I’m out there and running free, I feel better. My cure for night shift hang over is runners high.
12. Runners high is real: I honestly thought it was a myth until it magically presented itself to me. It’s the most liberating, freeing, joyous feeling. It definitely doesn’t happen every run, there’s always going to be the runs you struggle through no matter how fit you are, and sometimes it appears when you least expect it. When you feel it, just roll with it and feel the freedom!!
13. I’m very hard on myself: This is something to work on and I try everything day. I always question myself, my training, my nutrition.. Everything. There’s always ups and downs, I’ve been injured, sick, burnt out. I have proven to myself so many times that I am capable of great things so what I am doing is right for me. The key is to trust in your training but also to listen to your body. As you become more experienced you start to know how to read your body and you are better able to listen for when it’s time to hold back or push the pace a little.
14. I’m stronger than I think I am: I’ve struggled with self esteem and confidence my whole life which is a shame because I’ve achieved some incredible accomplishments and done so many amazing things. But through pushing myself both mentally and physically, continuously, I’ve proved to myself time and time again I am strong and I can do things I once believed were impossible, that’s a feeling like no other!
15. No goal seems too big now: I remember when a half marathon seemed impossible. Now I’ve proven to myself I can do 50 miles and beyond. When I’m ready for each goal, with hard work and dedication, I can achieve it. This applies to everything in life, all you need to do is dream it and believe it and you will achieve extraordinary things!